COTABATO CITY: Green flags and streamers filled highways and streets in Maguindanao while thanksgiving parties were thrown in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on the eve of the historic signing today of the Bangsamoro peace agreement.
Green flaglets lined highways and streets in Maguindanao province, particularly those leading to Camp Darapanan, main headquarters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“Green is the color of the MILF, and green symbolizes peace, this is our way of expressing our desire for peace,” said Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs.
In the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Sultan sa Barongis and Mamasapano, green “pandalas” (bridesmaids) danced on the streets as if a wedding was going on.
Streamers with the words “Long Live the Bangsamoro government” fluttered in the wind.
Even ordinary civilians got caught up in the festive mood.
“This is very meaningful to me and my family,” Muhaliden Angas, a resident of Barangay Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, told reporters.
MILF officials were giddy with anticipation for the big day today, when the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) will be signed in Malacañang.
“We have been longing for this for decades, now it is at hand and we are very proud of this victory, victory of our people, the Bangsamoro people. I never thought it can be achieved in my lifetime,” Jaafar said. “It is very difficult to describe in words our feelings right now.”
“People are very excited, people are anticipating success and victory,” he added.
He said this is the penultimate celebration of the Muslim people who offered their blood in their struggle to attain genuine and meaningful peace.
At the ARMM regional government center, a thanksgiving party dubbed as “Peacetahan,” was held for ARMM employees to celebrate the historic event.
Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, said several “kanduli” or thanksgiving parties will be simultaneously held in ARMM’s five provinces and two cities.
She said huge television monitors will be installed in several thanksgiving venues so that everybody will be able to see and witness the historic event happening in Manila.